"What happens to 1Sambayan now?"
They came in with a roar. The venerables came to town to preside over the circus, but the elephants along with the Lipizzaner horses they were trying to rein in trampled upon them.
Call it a systemic problem, because that is what ails our political system.
We don’t have political parties, mere flags of convenience, temporary “barkadahan”. Our parties, be they yellow or controlled by the DDS, have no ideologies, let alone principles with which to bind their members.
What binds our political barkadahan is access to pork and other perks, such that the fulcrum of power is always controlled by whoever is president of the benighted land we call a democracy. He is the fount of power, both political and economic. Lesser politicians bow before him with cup in hand, to partake of the bountiful water that spouts from his almost unlimited wellspring.
It began with Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, who sundered the two-party system when he had only a minority of Liberals in the House of Representatives, by enticing Nacionalistas to hand over control of the chamber from Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr. to Cornelio Villareal. That was the start of this devilish practice called turncoatism.
The butterfly acts continued with Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was himself a butterfly, when in an act of sweet revenge against Macapagal, the Laurels invited him to jump over to the NP, and therefrom, win the convention of 1961 and seize the presidency thereafter. The Laurels did that in 1953 as well, getting then LP Ramon Magsaysay to junk his political patron Pres. Elpidio Quirino and turn Nacionalista.
Consolidating power during the long reign of martial law, Marcos proceeded to create his own party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, getting every Liberal and every Nacionalista inside his big political tent. Those who resisted either stayed in jail, or revived their challenge after Ninoy Aquino’s assassination.
Cory Aquino conjoined Ninoy’s Laban with Nene Pimentel’s PDP, but had to run officially under the bigger Unido during the February 6, 1986 snap elections called by the dictator. Due to a military mutiny against the ailing Marcos, an event immortalized as “people power” with Edsa as locus of ferment, Cory and Doy became president and vice-president.
No sooner had they warmed their seats, they quarreled, and Doy Laurel’s Unido was given short shrift, with PDP-Laban emerging as the party in power. But Cory’s brother Peping Cojuangco, eminence grise of the HoR, decided to divorce from PDP, and forthwith formed the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino which then became the humongous LDP that fielded Speaker Ramon V. Mitra Jr. for the presidential elections in 1992.
Monching lost to Cory’s anointed, Fidel Valdez Ramos, who formed a splinter group from the LDP after he lost the convention of 1991, and called his original seven-member team Lakas, later merging with NUCD to give the new barkadahan semblance of international panache (Christian Democrats kuno). While he ruled from 1992 to 1998, most everyone joined FVR’s Lakas, either in coalition or as turncoat.
But Lakas fielded Jose de Venecia in 1998 who was trounced by PMP’s Erap Estrada, while piggy-backing on a coalition that included the once-dormant LDP, now presided by Sen. Edgardo Angara, and Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition, itself plucked from the ribs of the weakened Nacionalista Party. Erap’s reign was however given short shrift by a conspiracy fueled by his own weaknesses, and in less than half of his elected term, was deposed in another Edsa conspiracy with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ascending the throne.
GMA gave new life to Lakas. Everyone and his mother again turned from Erap’s loose coalition called LAMMP back into the folds of Lakas, and therein stayed for nine long years.
Then, in 2009, an ailing Corazon Aquino died of colon cancer, and from the ashes of death rose her son Noynoy and his Liberal Party, resurrected to power after hibernation since 1965 for the next six years.
By accident of fate, the then mayor of the City of Davao, who needed an instant flag of convenience at Comelec deadline, rode his presidential quest upon the moribund PDP-Laban of the Pimentel family. But President Duterte cared little about his FOC, and in the mid-term elections of 2019, his own daughter, Mayor Inday Sara formed her own political FOC called Hugpong. Thus, the nominally huge PDP-Laban ceased to be the center of political gravity, as most roads led to Davao, especially now that presidential elections are near.
Now, from the ashes of the once-mighty Liberal Party and some civic-oriented groups labelled “dilawan” by the DDS, some venerables, such as respected jurists and academicians, coalesced into another flag of convenience with elements of the progressive Left, and formed 1Sambayan.
In their self-declared mission of “saving” our democracy and our sovereignty from the policies of the China-friendly incumbent administration, they proceeded to invite prospective “presidentiables” to face them in what turned out to be “revalidas” similar to a defense of one’s thesis before a panel of professors.
But the invitees, while honored by the interest of the venerables, wondered at the whats and whys, the wherefores of the terms by which they were being “united” by the group calling themselves 1Sambayan.
The 1Sambayan’s spokesperson started reporting to media about the personages they were “weighing,”as if their coalition had the right to decide whether one or the other was “tinimbang ka nguni’t kulang.” These personages after all had their own political parties, and more than that their own political gravitas, so how could this new coalition of venerables presume to decide their political fate on the basis of their own choosing processes?
First to decline the “nomination” was Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Thereafter, it was Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.
And last Saturday, coinciding with the 123rd anniversary of the Independence, the coalition announced the remaining choices: Vice-Pres. Leni Robredo, who welcomed her nomination, along with former Sen. Antonio Trillanes. But the other nominees begged off. First was Sen. Grace Poe, followed by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, then Prof. Chel Diokno, then Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva, proxied by his son, Sen. Joel Villanueva.
So what happens now?
1Sambayan, born 18 March 2021. Shafted 87 days later on 12 June 2021.
How will it hereafter make itself relevant, a hundred days or so before filing time?